Alas, this is a challenge to us all. On the surface, we all think that any plastic can be recycled with anything else that is plastic, right?
Well no, that is a misconception. Plastics are widely different and cannot be recycled together. That is why most plastics have little mobius symbols with a number to give you information about the type of plastic, the chemicals used to make it, how biodegradable it is. They are incompatible with each other in terms of recycling and reuse, so you have to keep the material streams totally separate.
When it comes to single-use disposables, with the exception of compostable plastics, if they contain food waste or are stained, they cannot be recycled (at least not economically). The only way to recycle single-use plastics used for food service is to wash them completely clean first, otherwise the food waste contaminates the recycled materials, rendering them unsuitable to use.
One of the strongest benefits of using compostable products that are certified compostable is that you can recover all the food waste for composting and creating new fresh soil, and at the same time help the circular economy and environment by "recycling" the compostable tableware into new soil compost, as it does not contaminate the food waste for composting.
This is where our name, StalkMarket, came from. We take the pre-consumer waste fibers of sugar cane and make value-added goods for food service. The goods are used, disposed, and turned into the compost from which new plant "stalks" emerge, and the cycle repeats.
For more information on plastics recycling, see http://apps.npr.org/plastics-recycling/